So, I’m digging baseball this year. I’ve watched parts of games or a little bit of “Baseball Tonight” more than usual this week.
I tried to go to the game on Thursday, got rained on. I went to the game on Friday night, and it was so-so.
The crowd was quite small (see National Anthem video here), it got a little cold for my tastes and the people around me weren’t very spirited.
I did have a good time at the Wharf Rat before the game (see videos at wnsTV here). But it’s always fun when Melvin Mora goes into the hole and comes up throwing. It’s fun when home runs fly out of the park. And the sounds of a baseball game are a joy to hear.
And, if the crowd’s joy level is indicated in sheer volume, the Orioles should play the crab shell game and the hot dog race between every inning and allow wagers behind specific sections to raise money for charity.
But this is a “fresh” team – a group of interesting new young talent — that has been fun to watch over the first week of the season.
I’m trying to figure out Lu-u-u-u-ke Scott, who is hitting .538 right now. I’m learning Adam Jones, who is only hitting .214 but still seems more impressive than that. I’m coming to grips with an awkward lefthander as a closer in George Sherrill. I’ve been wearing my cartoon bird cap for about three weeks now, trying to get the “Magic” back.
I’ve gotten phone calls from three different old school O’s friends over the past few days about making “dates” with me to go back to the ballpark and see a game this year. That’s the real gift to me, having some fun with baseball with my friends again.
And winning is more fun than losing, even if this 4-1 start is a mirage that could come to a thundering halt at 3 p.m. today. (I’m going to the game. Hope you join me. My friends know how to reach me. The rest of you can post here or see the previous blog here!) I’ll be at Hooters around 1:30. Wings, beer, ball…maybe some peanuts!
In the hokey song, “Orioles Magic,” which has now become a bit of a camp cult classic in the Orioles clubhouse after the games this week and I song I proudly know all the words to because I played it a trillion times on the radio during my 13 years of daily broadcasts, there’s a great line that my Pop really liked:
“Every game there’s a different star, that’s the magic of Orioles baseball…”
So far, four wins in a row, four different “heroes.” Good teams win games when guys like Luis Hernandez get a big hit.
And the bullpen’s performance late in these games is what they purchased 16 months ago and didn’t get during the 2007 season. Only Scott and Kevin Millar are truly crushing the ball, but you only need a one-run lead if your bullpen is going to toss up goose eggs.
Sure, they could complete the sweep on Monday at Camden Yards, but they could just as easily go on a 10-game losing streak.
There’s a reason the over-under on the team is 65 wins in Las Vegas.
But lemme have my little “Major League” worst-to-first led by Kevin Millar in the role of “Jake” as an aging Tom Berenger-type leader. And lemme have my Corbin Bernsen “Dorn” role filled by Aubrey Huff. And let’s hope that Dave Trembley releases his inner “Lou Brown.”
(I don’t even want to THINK about Peter Angelos in the role as the owner in that movie, but you gotta at least laugh at a few parallels.)
I just want to be the idiot banging the drum on the “reservation.”
I just want to have one “Magic” moment at a time. I’ll settle for a victory and decent weather on Monday.
At least for one afternoon, I just want to go to an afternoon baseball game at the ballpark, see a first place team, drink a beer, eat a hot dog and have fun.
If I owned the team – and you can laugh at this all you want – I’d be on every radio station in town today and I’d open the gates for Orioles fans for free this afternoon.
I’ll write that again.
Yes, I’d open the gates and let the WHOLE CITY IN FOR FREE TODAY!
The team is in first place. They have a slight “image” problem here in the community. The ballpark will be EMPTY today. You watch! They’ll announce the crowd at 14,000 and there’ll be 5,800 in the ballpark (maybe less if the Marty Bass forecast holds for today).
But, I’ll be there. I’ll know and I’ll be reporting the truth about the attendance, not the crap that they list as an official attendance.
(If there’s ANY doubt that they’re still lying about stuff routinely, just look at the Opening Day attendance figure. It’s so insulting that they think we’re this stupid!)
Today, with things going about as well as they could possibly imagine in early April, they will make ZERO impact on the community.
The Orioles are in first place and no one in the city cares and/or knows.
There will be no long lines of walk ups. No droves of people buying into Andy McPhail’s first-week miracle workers. No traffic jams coming into the city. No commerce downtown. Honestly, I’d be SHOCKED if I don’t find many, many empty tables at Hooters when I walk in at 1:30 today.
Think about how crazy this city will be in October circa Week 6 if the Ravens start the season 4-1. (I know that’s “not fair.” But it is, in a way.)
The Orioles have had their worst Opening week attendance in a generation this week. No one seems to care about them or name their players. We couldn’t get phone calls on a sports radio station about the team on the day after Opening Day. They couldn’t SELL OUT Opening Day (not even CLOSE!).
And yet, these guys – young bucks like Scott and Jones, and old farts like Millar and Sherrill, and standbys like Mora and Roberts – have the team in first place a week into the season.
And they’ve been a joy to watch.
And who will be at the ballpark today?
And what would it cost them to announce this morning that the game is FREE for the entire city today! Come one, come all. Buy a hot dog, enjoy the game “on us!”
“We love Baltimore day.”
Aubrey Huff could make the invite and offer to “pick up the tab” for anyone who wants to come to the game. It’d be Huff’s little “make good” to the people of Baltimore.
Maybe they could announce they’re putting Baltimore back on the jerseys while they’re at it. THAT’S how you recruit the community, by inviting them back to the ballpark.
A free Orioles game “just because,” all brought to you by MASN. I’m paying him $30 this year via my Comcast bill, why wouldn’t Angelos just “open the gates” while the team is in first place?
Don’t laugh! The Blue Jays threw one of these together over a weekend a few years ago during the SARS scare and charged $1 to get in (and it was when that equaled 92 cents in U.S. money!) It wound up being the talk of the COUNTRY that day and the game sold out to the rafters and the Blue Jays were part of getting people out of their houses during a very scary period for Toronto.
That’s what good organizations do: embrace and enliven their community and market their sport and events as “the place to be.”
Give the people the drug of Orioles baseball. Give it away today and perhaps people would feel “invited” back. From the looks of the crowd during the National Anthem on Friday night, they have a long way to go to get people back.
As it is, it’s only gonna cost me $5 — $10 tops — to get in today and the scalper on the street is going to get that money. Hell, someone might just hand me a free ticket anyway.
I assure you, Peter Angelos won’t be getting ANY money from me this summer, either way.
So, why not just make it free and let people feel good about it?
But that’s just me being a “very unimportant person with delusions of grandeur.”
What I call “good will,” Peter Angelos would call “bad business.”
We’ll see what the turnstiles look like today and what the walk up crowd will be for an exciting, young, first-place, 4-1 team on a 51-degree day.